Governor Kristi Noem says she isn’t saying much more about the coronavirus vaccine because she worries that if people hear too much from her, they’ll tune her out:
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she has no plans to ratchet up her messaging to urge people to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even as Republican leaders across the country try to persuade vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots in response to a new, more contagious variant that has sent caseloads soaring in some areas.
The Republican governor told The Associated Press this week she believes her messaging has reached “a saturation level where people start to tune you out” [Stephen Groves, “South Dakota’s Noem Doesn’t Plan to Ratchet up Vaccine Push,” AP via KELO-TV, 2021.07.30].
Noem apparently feels her “saturation level” for comment on coronavirus vaccinations is zero tweets per month. On her gubernatorial Twitter in July, Noem issued 67 tweets on 30 topics (by my subjective categorization). Not one mentioned vaccines. Seven addressed the pandemic: three ridiculed the CDC, three cast doubt on the value of masks, and one attributed lower drug overdoses to her resistance to coronavirus prevention measures. If Noem’s fear of people tuning her out is sincere, she should really scale back that relative torrent of pandemic commentary.
Also apparently at risk of tune-outage are Noem’s views on border security (10 tweets in July), trapping (4), Korean War history (3), her family (3), prison personnel policy (3), military (3), abortion (2), tourism (2), sport (2), air travel in Pierre and Watertown (2), the budget surplus (2), Cuba (2), fireworks (2), Game Fish & Parks (1), critical race theory (1) the Americans with Disabilities Act (1), buffalo (1), David Lust (1), fuel shortage (1), police (1), business recruitment (1), rain (1), California (1), July 4 (1), medical marijuana (1), and voter suppression (1). Plus the public must be really tired of her incessant photo opps (7).
But not one tweet all July about coronavirus vaccines. Not one in June. The last mention of coronavirus vaccines from Governor Noem on her official Twitter channel was May 13, when she retweeted the AP’s report of the CDC’s guidance that fully vaccinated people could ditch masks indoors, which she used not to encourage vaccination but to simply falsely snark, “Glad the CDC are finally looking at the science.” Before that, on April 12, similar snark on Dr. Anthony Fauci and claiming credit for “efficient vaccination efforts.” That last tweet that sounds even remotely like encouragement for people to get their shots was on April 5, when Noem tweeted a picture of herself getting her first Pfizer shot (with her masked face turned away from the camera) and said, “Vaccinations are now available for all South Dakotans 16-and-older! I got my first dose of Pfizer vaccine today.”
It’s hard to tune out the Governor’s promotion of vaccines when we haven’t been able to pick up that signal since April and when she has drowned that faint ping out with so much other noise.